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Silent and quiet rules refined at Cabell Library; 175 new silent study seats now available

March 2, 2016

Patrons are still hearing more noise in James Branch Cabell Library than some would like and library leaders are responding to those concerns by revising expectations about which spaces are “silent” and “quiet.” 

Months of loud construction are over. Finishing work continues. Starbucks’ renovations will not be complete until April. Art is being installed in the building. A March 15 opening event will bring hundreds of guests into the building for tours and a celebration.

But even after all the work is done and the opening hoopla dies, due to the building’s airy and open design, some parts of the building might never be as quiet as they were. Much-needed new study rooms on formerly “silent” and “quiet” floors are in high demand. The new third floor Lecture Hall is in use several times each week. An expanded Special Collections and Archives Reading Room and Consultation Room will draw in more people.

“We’ve received a few complaints from students. Those have been eloquent and helpful to us in looking at the new normal of noise levels in Cabell,” said Dennis T. Clark, associate university librarian for research and learning. “Now that we’ve been in the new building since January, we have a good sense of things. With mid-terms and the end of the semester on the horizon, we’ve made some changes to respond to students’ needs.”

  • Former “Quiet” and “Silent” third and fourth floors are now both “Quiet.” No cell phone conversations (including restrooms), no sound bleed from earphones. Voices low (preferably at a whisper), patrons and visitors will keep conversations as quiet as possible in group study rooms or in public areas on these floors as people come and go.
  • Events in the Lecture Hall will periodically disrupt that quiet. These are temporary and scheduled in advance so students can plan to use other spaces.
  • Silent study spaces are now designated as spaces behind sound barriers/closed doors. All these are on the fourth floor. These designated spaces for silent study offer more than 175 new seats in some of the build’s most interesting new rooms. They are:

--The original silent study space on the fourth floor behind the double doors, approximately 125 seats.

--Graduate Student and Faculty Research Center, fourth floor, 85 seats

--The new Silent Reading Room, fourth floor, 90 seats

Etiquette in these rooms: Silence, no cells, no sound bleed from earphones. Enter and exit as quietly as possible. (The new graduates’ and faculty only space has a noisy door that is on the list of pending repairs.)

  • The lower level, first and second floors continue to be collaborative and conversational work environments. Cell phone conversations and quiet conversations allowed.

To further meet students’ needs for silent study, the Lecture Hall and the adjacent terrace--both of which can be closed off to the open sections of the third floor--will be used for “silent” study spaces many days during exams and and high-need times.

Check the library’s home page, TelegRAM notices, signs and social media announcements about when those additional spaces will be open during peak study times.

In addition, library leadership is exploring ways of adding seating to the fourth floor silent study space as well as to the third floor spaces farthest from the Lecture Hall.

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